New Delhi: Calling for immediate attention from the government over medical seats both in MBBS and PG courses, a Parliamentary Committee on Health and Family Welfare has said that with an annual influx of approximately two million aspiring medical students at MBBS and only 1/20 available seats, the demand far exceeds the availability of seats.
The committee chaired by BJP MP in the Rajya Sabha Bhubaneswar Kalita acknowledges the urgency of addressing this challenge while maintaining the quality of medical education at its highest standard. As per the National Board of Examinations (NBE), a total of 2,08,898 candidates appeared for the NEET PG 2023. According to the data furnished by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, there are 68,073 postgraduate seats in the country.
“To address this issue effectively, several measures can be taken. First and foremost, there is a need to significantly increase medical seats in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses. The government’s existing scheme, which focuses on the establishment of new medical colleges attached to district or referral hospitals, can be instrumental in achieving this goal,” the committee said.
The committee further recommends that it is essential to make optimal use of the existing infrastructure. Ensuring that all available resources and facilities are utilised efficiently can help accommodate a larger number of students without compromising the quality of education.
As per data provided by the Health Ministry, there are 702 medical colleges in the country in 2023-24, up by 81 per cent from 387 in 2013-14. Similarly, the number of seats for MBBS increased by almost 110 per cent from 51,348 in 2013-14 to 1,08,990 in 2023-24 whereas the number of postgraduate seats increased from 31,185 in 2013-14 to 68,073 in 2023-24.
As per the latest data by the National Testing Agency, 20,87,462 candidates registered for the exam this year, out of which 20,38,596 candidates appeared in the examination and 11,45,976 candidates finally managed to clear the NEET UG examination.
“Additionally, streamlining the admission process by implementing a standardised national entrance examination can improve fairness and transparency in seat allocation,” the committee said in its 157th report presented in the Rajya Sabha last week.
According to government statistics, the maximum number of medical seats is in Karnataka (17,005), followed by Tamil Nadu (15,861), Maharashtra (15,816), Uttar Pradesh (12,962) and Telangana (9,104).
Speaking to ETV Bharat, committee chairman Bhubaneswar Kalita said that encouraging private investment in medical education could be another avenue to explore.
“Providing incentives and regulatory support to private institutions willing to establish medical colleges can not only increase seat availability, but also introduce healthy competition and innovation in medical education. The ministry should leverage technology for distance learning and organise virtual classrooms that can be a supplementary solution to address the shortage of seats, allowing a more significant number of students to access medical education without overburdening physical infrastructure,” Kalita said.
As per data, Maharashtra with 1,88,540 doctors tops the list of States having the maximum number of registered doctors practising in particular States, followed by Tamil Nadu (1,48,216), Karnataka (1,31,906), Andhra Pradesh (1,05,795) and Uttar Pradesh (89,286).
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